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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 45, 4 March 1996

From: OMRI-L <omri-l@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu>

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] SERBS BLOCKING FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT NEAR DOBOJ.

  • [2] BILDT CONCERNED ABOUT KARA-DZIC.

  • [3] CROATIA GOVERNMENT SAYS BELGRADE HOLDING BACK DATA ON 1,700 KILLED.

  • [4] BOSNIANS SEND TROOPS TO IRAN FOR TRAINING.

  • [5] THOUSANDS PROTEST MILOSEVIC REGIME.

  • [6] ANOTHER ROMANIAN EXTREME NATIONALIST RUNS FOR PRESIDENT.

  • [7] TIRASPOL MILITARY TRIBUNAL STARTS PROCEEDINGS AGAINST GRACHEV.

  • [8] BULGARIAN UPDATE.

  • [9] GREEK DIPLOMATIC UPDATE. NATO

  • [10] TURKISH CONSERVATIVES FORM COALITION.

  • [11] MORE ARRESTS AFTER TIRANA BOMBING...

  • [12] ...WHILE MEDIA REMAINS UNDER PRESSURE.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 45, Part II, 4 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] SERBS BLOCKING FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT NEAR DOBOJ.

    Bosnian Serb police and civilians have been preventing Muslim and even Serbian refugees from visiting relatives or reclaiming their homes and property in this strategically important region of northern Bosnia, AFP reported on 4 March. Doboj is the key to controlling the supply corridor linking Serbia with Banja Luka, but the Dayton accord strictly specifies that there is to be freedom of movement and that refugees have the right to go home. Late last month the Serbs increased the number of checkpoints and began blocking visitors in what seems to be a series of moves designed to test the limits of IFOR's patience. So far the peacekeepers have been reluctant to challenge any local forces beyond purely military matters. They say freedom of movement is the business of the UN's police force, which has hardly begun to appear on the scene. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] BILDT CONCERNED ABOUT KARA-DZIC.

    One example of how IFOR has been reluctant to challenge the Serbs involves Pale's president and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. He has reportedly gone through IFOR checkpoints or come close to IFOR troops on numerous occasions, but no one seems to have been able to identify him or felt they were in a position to arrest him. The international community's High Representative in Bosnia, Carl Bildt, said on 3 March that he is concerned about Karadzic's increased public profile, but added that Karadzic may not be in charge in Pale. He did not elaborate, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serb leader appealed to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to provide help for Serbian refugees who have fled Sarajevo at Pale's orders in recent weeks. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] CROATIA GOVERNMENT SAYS BELGRADE HOLDING BACK DATA ON 1,700 KILLED.

    A Croatian government commission on the missing says that Serbia is hiding information on about 1,700 persons believed killed during the Serbian war against Croatia in 1991 and in its aftermath the following year. The commission is dealing with some 2,800 cases of missing civilians and soldiers. A joint Croatian-Serbian group will soon begin trying to clear up these and other cases in keeping with an agreement signed during the Dayton conference last year. Vecernji list carried the report on 4 March. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] BOSNIANS SEND TROOPS TO IRAN FOR TRAINING.

    The Bosnian government has sent troops to Iran for training in a bid to upgrade its military, AFP quoted The New York Times as reporting on 4 March. NATO officials think the Bosnian troops will gain marginal military experience there, while the emphasis will be on their ideological indoctrination, Nasa Borba quoted the article as saying. While the presence of Bosnian soldiers in Iran does not violate the Balkan peace accord, it could provoke tensions between the Bosnian government and the U.S., and between Muslims and Croats within the Bosnian Federation. Meanwhile, Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Mura-tovic, during his visit to Teheran, underlined the importance of Iran's contribution to the reconstruction of Bosnia, international agencies reported. Iran has suggested the establishment of a joint Bosnian-Iranian bank to help create more confidence in joint investments and private sector activities in the two countries, Reuters reported on 4 March. -- Daria Sito Sucic U.S. AMBASSADOR IN CROATIA DISPLEASED WITH REPATRIATION PACE. Peter Galbraith told Vjesnik on 3 March that he is worried about the slow steps the Croatian administration has been taking in approving requests by Krajina Serbs to return to Croatia. "It should have been solved in a couple of minutes, not in seven months," he said. The government's refugees office said that more than 5,600 of 14,000 applications by Croatian Serbs to return had been processed, but UNHCR officials noted that only 2,500 had been approved, AFP reported on 3 March. Meanwhile, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman told visiting American congressmen that Croatian Serbs who did not commit war crimes, and are ready to accept Croatia as their homeland, will be allowed to return, Nasa Borba reported on 4 March. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [5] THOUSANDS PROTEST MILOSEVIC REGIME.

    Beta on 2 March reported that while the SPS congress was in session (see Top Story), some 20,000 individuals gathered in the Serbian industrial city of Kragujevac to register their protest of what was dubbed the authoritarianism of Milosevic's government. The rally was organized by Serbian opposition parties, which reportedly regarded the Kragujevac rally as "a dress rehearsal" for the planned upcoming fifth anniversary of the 9 March Belgrade demonstrations. Five years ago, an estimated 100, 000 people rallied in the capital, demanding Milosevic's resignation. Their action triggered the largest police deployment ever in the city, and two persons were killed. -- Stan Markotich

    [6] ANOTHER ROMANIAN EXTREME NATIONALIST RUNS FOR PRESIDENT.

    Senator Ion Coja was elected on 3 March as the candidate of the Romanian Democratic Agrarian Party (PDAR) in the presidential elections scheduled for fall 1996. Coja, who is a PDAR vice-chairman, is also vice-chairman of Vatra Romaneasca (Romanian Cradle), an anti-Hungarian cultural mass-movement. He is also known for denying that the Iron Guard, Romania's interwar fascist movement, was guilty of committing any atrocities against the Jews. Coja joins two other extreme nationalists in the run for the presidency, Greater Romania Party chairman Corneliu Vadim Tudor and Socialist Labor Party first vice-chairman, Adrian Paunescu, both of whom are former Ceausescu "court poets." The PDAR conference held in Bucharest on 2-3 March also reelected Victor Surdu chairman of the party, Romanian media report. -- Michael Shafir

    [7] TIRASPOL MILITARY TRIBUNAL STARTS PROCEEDINGS AGAINST GRACHEV.

    The military tribunal of the Russian-based forces in the Trans-dniester on 1 March started proceedings against Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, BASA-press reported on the same day. The tribunal decided to start the proceedings under the Russian Penal Code, for "failure to carry out a judicial ruling." Grachev is accused of failing to implement the court's earlier ruling to reinstate Colonel Mikhail Bergman as Tiraspol garrison commander. Berg-man, one of the staunchest supporters of former 14th Army commander General Alexander Lebed, was dismissed as Tiraspol garrison commander in October 1995. -- Michael Shafir

    [8] BULGARIAN UPDATE.

    Health Minister Mimi Vitkova confirmed that seven persons infected with HIV-contaminated blood protein have died, 24 chasa reported on 4 March. The chief prosecutor on 27 February ordered an investigation into the case which involves at least 41 persons who were infected in state-run hospitals. Meanwhile, Bulgarian doctors on 1 March demonstrated against insufficient funds for the country's health system, restrictions on private medical practice, and low pay, Reuters reported. They demanded Vitkova's resignation. The protest in Sofia was organized by medical trade unions and supported by the opposition. -- Stefan Krause

    [9] GREEK DIPLOMATIC UPDATE.

    NATO Secretary General Javier Solana on 2 March concluded a two-day visit to Athens, AFP reported. He said he will "continue to work constructively" to resolve the differences between Greece and Turkey, but gave no details of his talks with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and other leading politicians. The same day, Greece vetoed a 750 million ECU ($940 million) loan to Turkey by the European Investment Bank. On 1 March, a Greek and a Turkish military vessel collided near the disputed islet of Imia/Kardak. Both sides claimed that the incident took place in their territorial waters. Also on 1 March, the Greek government asked that the Italian and Dutch military attaches be recalled after they were arrested in January on the island of Lesbos with notes possibly relating to military installations there. Italy and the Netherlands recalled the diplomats but denied the charges. -- Stefan Krause

    [10] TURKISH CONSERVATIVES FORM COALITION.

    The True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP) on 3 March agreed to form a minority government, Western agencies reported. The cabinet will be headed by ANAP Chairman Mesut Yilmaz until the end of 1996, and by DYP leader and outgoing Prime Minister Tansu Ciller for the following two years. Then Yilmaz takes over for one more year, followed by an as-yet unnamed DYP politician. DYP and ANAP together hold 261 of the 550 seats in parliament, but the Democratic Left Party of former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said it will support the government in a vote of confidence. The coalition agreement names as main targets the reduction of inflation and unemployment. President Suleyman Demirel denied that the military interfered to keep the Islamist Welfare Party out of the government. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] MORE ARRESTS AFTER TIRANA BOMBING...

    Police on 1 March arrested two young men who allegedly resemble the man who parked the car carrying the bomb which went off in central Tirana on 26 February, international agencies reported. Meanwhile, Albanian Police General Director Agim Shehu denied reports that the bomb attack might be linked to the Italian Mafia. Shehu claimed the attack "has been carried out by left-wing extremists and the former (communist) Albanian secret police," Reuters reported. He declined, however, to disclose what evidence investigators had found. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] ...WHILE MEDIA REMAINS UNDER PRESSURE.

    An Albanian court on 2 March ordered for the second time the continued detention of Populli Po journalist Ylli Polovina, who was arrested and accused of inciting political violence in an article that predicted political terrorism in Albania. Polovina's relatives and journalists were not allowed to attend the court hearing. Meanwhile, Reuters and Voice of America journalists have been interrogated by police following their reporting. Vefa Holding, whose supermarket burned down in the blast, has denied Reuters reports saying the firm was involved in arms sales. -- Fabian Schmid

    This material was reprinted with permission of the Open Media Research Institute, a nonprofit organization with research offices in Prague, Czech Republic.
    For more information on OMRI publications please write to info@omri.cz

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